Round 2 – Western Bulldogs v St. Kilda: Saints collar the Dogs

 

Western Bulldogs v St. Kilda

7.25PM, Saturday March 25

Marvel Stadium

 

 

The Saints had performed well against the Dockers in Round One. How would they go in Round Two against the Dogs? Seb Ross and Ben Paton were included in the side to replace Jimmy Webster and Jack Bytel, both of whom were injured; Marcus Windhager was selected as substitute. The ball is bounced and within 30 seconds second gamer Mattaes Phillipou snaps a goal on his left foot. The ball heads back to the center, is bounced again and within 25 seconds (with practice comes efficiency) this time nine gamer Mitchito Owens snaps a goal on his right foot. This helps to settle the nerves of we anxious, always hopeful but fearing the worst diehard Saints’ supporters. The Saints dominate the other nineteen minutes of the first quarter kicking another two goals, both from uncontested marks, and holding the Dogs to a single point.

 

The Second quarter starts with the Saints controlling most of the play. Phillipou kicks a second goal early in the quarter and then the scoring stops. The Dogs slowly work their way back into the game, with neither team being able to score. Then, with about a third of the quarter to go, the Dogs start barking and kicked four goals in a hurry, the last after the siren, to be down by less than a goal at the main break. That sinking feeling was forcing itself upwards; no, the Saints can’t lose this one after dominating most of the play.

 

The second half starts. The ball is bounced and kicked forward to be marked by Phillipou on the 50 meter line. He indicates that he is going to have a shot for goal. Goes back, about 55 to 60 meters from goal and bangs it through. The Dogs respond almost immediately with an end to end goal. They are only three points behind (no pun intended). The game is on a knife edge as both teams struggle for ascendancy. Brad Crouch delivers a neat pass to former Dog, the would be novelist Zaine Cordy, who kicks truly to ease pressure on the Saints.

 

For the next six minutes of game time, both sides find it difficult to score. Then the game breaks open. The Dogs are streaming forward when Dan Butler pulls off a tackle from behind. A free is paid and as the ball falls to the ground it is scooped up by Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera who passes it to second gamer Anthony Caminiti who high tails it to the 50 meter line and goes bang and watches it sail through the big sticks for his first ever goal. Saints fans are over the moon; with young Anthony on a trip around the galaxy. He was a happy lad. The Saints then kicked another three in three minutes to put the game to bed. They dominated the final quarter scoring another three goals, holding the Dogs to a few points. The Dogs kicked only one goal in the second half. Other than for that brief period at the end of the second quarter they looked like a team that has lost its way.

 

The Saints ending up winning by 51 points, 14 goals to five. The defence and the midfield were superb. The forward line worked well. The young guns of Phillipou, Owens and Caminiti scored eight goals between them, with second gamer for the Saints, former Dog Cordy adding another two. Team cohesion and skill levels were an improvement on what occurred in Round One against the Dockers. On Saturday night their the Saints were on top of the ladder. They were even happier than Chris Minns in New South Wales.

 

Next week the Saints head off to the MCG for the sesquicentennial game against the Dons on April Fool’s Day (who says god and/or the AFL doesn’t have a sense of humour?), celebrating 150 years of the High Flying Mighty Saints. Here is hoping that the Saints can make it three in a row. Hope keeps on springing eternal.

 

Go Saints!

 

 

 

WESTERN BULLDOGS    0.1   4.5   5.8   5.11 (41)

ST KILDA         4.1   5.4   11.5   14.8 (92)

 

GOALS

Western Bulldogs: Naughton 2, Garcia, Baker, English.

St. Kilda: Phillipou, Owens 3, Gresham, Cordy, Caminiti 2, Steele, Wood.

 

BEST

Western Bulldogs: English, Smith, Crozier, Liberatore, Bontempelli.

St. Kilda: Sinclair, Steele, Marshall, Crouch, Wood.

 

Crowd: 33,294

 

Malarkey Medal: Marshall 1 (StK), Steele 2 (StK), Sinclair 3 (StK)

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Football Analyst says

    The most pleasing thing is that the St Kilda players now have clarity in their roles and are executing the game plan to perfection.

    Their tackling has improved this season. Even Jack Higgins, who is not known for his tackling, is now doing that.

    The ball movement has also significantly improved from last year and there has been less skill errors and turnovers. Keep that going, St Kilda.

    It was also great to see St Kilda reverse the losses to both Fremantle and the Western Bulldogs from the second half of last season to convincing wins in the first 2 rounds of this season. Once again, full marks to Ross Lyon, and his assistant coaches in Corey Enright, Robert Harvey and Lenny Hayes for coming up with a great game plan.

    Another pleasing thing is that St Kilda have 22 players on the field all willing to contribute to the team’s success. Every team would like to have matchwinners but equally, if not more important, is that every St Kilda player on the field is more than making up for the talented players that are unfortunately still on the injury list, many of them long term.

    Personally, when the likes of Membrey and King are fingers crossed, available, as long as they remain mainly injury free for the remainder of the season and if players like Cordy, Caminiti and Phillipou are still in form and injury free, I would find a place for all of them in the team, whether it’s on the bench or in the pockets. It would be a good problem to have.

    I knew St Kilda would improve under Ross Lyon this year, with his new game plan, but the way they’re playing has amazed me. I hope they can keep it up and I believe they will.

    Jack Steele will be a big loss, but I have faith that the team will play well without him. It’s all about the team, not individuals.

    Carn The Mighty Saints!

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